Of course, the word air conditioning is a kind of abuse here, but as scientists have just discovered, this dinosaur was able to regulate its body temperature in a very interesting way.
Thermal photos of alligators taken by a team of scientists led by Casey Holliday from the University of Missouri School of Medicine suggest that Tyrannosaurus rex may have had blood vessels in the skull that helped this giant predator regulate body temperature, in other words it had biological conditioning in it. So it seems that although we have been trying to unravel the mysteries of this iconic dinosaur, which is constantly arousing the imagination of scientists and children around the world, it still hides many secrets.
T. rex lived in the Cretaceous period, some 68-66 million years ago and could boast of really impressive dimensions – it was up to 12.3 meters long and weighed up to 14 tons, and its first skeleton was discovered in 1900. Since then, staffs of researchers have been studying it piece by piece, trying to learn as much as possible about its anatomy, physiology and habits. Unfortunately, despite this more than 100 years of experience in this field, the brief still has not been able to solve all puzzles, e.g. related to his body temperature.
Until the sixties of the last century, scientists claimed that, as befits a reptile, T. rex was cold-blooded, but later there was evidence to suggest otherwise, i.e. both he and the other dinosaurs were probably warm-blooded. How was it actually? The first, the second, or maybe something completely in between? To this day it is difficult to say, but as recent experiments show, it certainly had a mechanism that made sure that the predator did not overheat or did not freeze too much.
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine believe that these are cranial blood vessels located in two large holes in the head of T. rexa, which acted as an internal thermostat – so far scientific circles have said that these holes are places for muscles Jaws: It’s very strange for muscles to come out of the jaw, make a 90-degree turn, and continue to the skull vault web alpha directory. Either way, we have a lot of convincing evidence for the theory of blood vessels in this place, based on our work with alligators and other reptiles, “says Casey Holliday.
To learn more about these holes, the team used thermal photos taken by alligators in St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, Florida. – Alligator body temperature depends on the environment. However, we noticed that when it was getting cold and the reptiles wanted to warm up, the thermal image showed large hot spots in said skull holes, indicating a rise in temperature. When it got warmer, the points became dark, as if someone had turned them off to keep the temperature low. This corresponds well with earlier evidence suggesting that alligators have internal thermostats.
And since there are many similarities between the skull of the alligator and T. rex, researchers believe that the dinosaur had the same mechanism. What is interesting, however, still does not answer the question whether the tyrannosaur was stable or cold-blooded, because in nature we observe similar solutions not only in reptiles, but also mammals. For example, dogs also have cranial blood vessels that protect their brains from overheating, which would be very useful for a warm-blooded predator, because it might suggest that it would be able to chase its prey until the same one died from overheating. In short, we still have many questions, but there is no guarantee that we will ever get answers to them.